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Get More From Your Long Haul

Get More From Your Long Haul

story by: Anna Sarjeant

New Zealand. Now we might be bias, but it’s pretty much the best country in the entire world. But oh my, it’s a fair old distance from anywhere. 

Most New Zealanders are as accustomed to a long haul flight as they are to a kiwi Pavlova, but that doesn’t make it any less gruelling on the body. We think an enhancement is in order. An enhancement on your long haul. Here are four long haul destinations that look past the obvious and find something a little extra to add to your trip. 

London’s calling! And so are last orders
London will undoubtedly beguile you with its antique charm and big red buses, royal ancestry and rich history. So old-worldly are its streets, wispy Victorian ghosts float between buildings as nonchalantly as the residents, or so the locals will tell you. London is a definite must-see for all of us, but it’s not all about the big smoke and its big white wheel. No way. If visiting Britain, you haven’t really done the whole British thing until you’ve spent an entire afternoon stooped over a cloudy stout in a Great British pub.  
Yup, the beer’s warm and the décor’s always eclectic, but step inside a traditional pub and you’ll soon forgive its misgivings. The floors are crooked and the beams are bent, but the fire’s burning and the chairs are plush. The best ones will boast a beer garden. We’re talking green grass, wooden benches, big umbrellas and over-grown flower trestles. Unless it’s raining of course, which is always likely. But that can be a bonus, wet days were made for hot chips. Buy a pint, load up on tomato sauce and order a pie dripping in gravy. There are a huge amount of gastro pubs littering the British Isles, all dishing out huge servings of top-notch pub grub. With moreish beers, food and banter, we bet you’ll still be there by sundown – along with the locals and a landlord that props up the bar more than he mans it.     

And one other thing, you should ask for cheese on those chips. It is a thing. It’s a marvellous thing. An entire nation cannot be wrong. 

Meeting Orcas 90 minutes out of Vancouver
Vancouver has a steaming clock. And that in itself is awesome. But Vancouver also has another weapon in its arsenal of awesome things. Vancouver has Vancouver Island. 

One-hundred kilometres from the city lights of Vancouver and a very pleasant 90-minute ferry trip from its harbour, Vancouver Island is a nature-lover’s dream destination, replete with serene forestry, mountains and placid lakes, as well as the affiliated logging and fishing communities that litter the surroundings. From Victoria, the capital of British Columbia and the gateway to Vancouver Island, you can embark on a three hour whale watching tour. Johnstone Strait, which lies between Vancouver Island and the mainland is regarded as one of the best places in the world to see orcas, with most companies boasting a 90% success rate. With the US all but a mirage in the distance, expect to have your breath taken away as the orcas (some of which reach the same length as a Boeing 747) dance in the foreground and Mayne Island bobs merrily as a backdrop.       

California vineyards. Cheers! 
With frequent flights dropping in and out of LA and San Francisco it’s easy to visit two of The State’s most fascinating cities. With guaranteed jaw-drops at every corner, whether that be your first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge or because you just spotted a celeb buying a foot-long in Subway, pleasant surprises abound.

Of course, Arnie’s former state is famous for more than just its movie stars (and movie star governors at that) it’s also renowned for its wine. You’ve probably heard the blends are pretty good. But you’re from New Zealand, so how good is good? Worthy competitors? Well you won’t know unless you go and find out. 

From rolling hillside to Napa’s cottage stays and sun-drenched grape vines in Mendocino, California offers idyllic surroundings for a wine stay. With more than 3000 wineries sprinkled across the landscape, you’ll find any number of vineyards to wine, dine, tour and picnic. From quiet family owned properties to the larger establishments you’ll recognise from the aisles of New World and with perpetual sunshine and mineral rich soil, it’s not just the wine that will tantalise your taste buds, but the cuisine too. Of course, for both food and wine, the proof is in the pudding (and the Pinot) so whip out that cork screw and let’s start tasting!

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